Health Cabinet Secretary, Susan Nakhumicha threatens to sack all striking doctors

The Health Cabinet Secretary, Susan Nakhumicha, has issued a stern warning to doctors engaged in the ongoing nationwide strike, hinting at the possibility of termination.

Nakhumicha’s statement comes amidst the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) entering its second week of striking.

During an interview on KTN News Hour, Nakhumicha emphasized the crucial nature of medical services, asserting that health facilities must remain operational. To ensure this, she revealed plans within the Ministry of Health to enlist qualified unemployed medical professionals.

“We are committed to ensuring service provision,” she assured during the live interview with KTN News’ Ken Mijungu. “We have contingency plans in place. There is a significant number of unemployed doctors, close to 3,000, and we cannot afford a crisis,” she added.

Nakhumicha further instructed institutions like KUTRRH and KNH to immediately recruit, stressing the urgency of manning essential healthcare facilities. She addressed concerns about exacerbating the situation, asserting her capability to resolve the crisis effectively.

On the other hand, KMPDU Secretary General, Davji Atellah, has persistently advocated for the hiring of over 1,000 medical interns, criticizing the Ministry for failing to absorb them, thereby hindering medical service delivery to Kenyans.

Nakhumicha counters Atellah’s stance by arguing that medical interns, despite being overpaid, lack valid practicing licenses and should primarily focus on learning rather than shouldering excessive workload due to staff shortages. Her proposed solution involves the recruitment of more qualified doctors.

The standoff between KMPDU and the Ministry traces back to the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which remains unfulfilled due to perceived unrealistic clauses, according to Nakhumicha.

As the deadlock persists, the nation witnesses the eighth day of the doctors’ strike, with neither side showing signs of compromise.